Who is winning the Russia-Ukraine infowars? Plus: lessons for the next pandemic
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If nothing else, Vladimir Putin’s packed stadium rally in Moscow last week revealed there is no shortage of Russian people who believe the Kremlin’s grotesquely doctored version of the “special operation” in Ukraine. But it’s not just a matter of state propaganda in Russia: a wider battle for informational truth is under way, exemplified last week by a deepfake video in which Ukraine’s leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy purportedly called on his own soldiers to surrender.
“It strikes me that the easiest way to find out if your leader is a big fan of authoritarianism is to follow the trail of lies and disinformation needed to keep them in power,” says San Francisco-based illustrator Brian Stauffer on the thinking behind his artwork for this week’s cover. “Although the truth can be manipulated, access to social media and smartphone cameras makes for fewer shadows to hide in.”